The following is an excerpt from the book Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits written by Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good.
With more than 250 million blogs in existence and countless online news outlets worldwide, new media managers must excel at writing and have the ability to expand their storytelling, marketing and fundraising content beyond traditional blog writing. The rise of mobile and social media has profoundly altered how journalists frame and format stories, and the same is true for nonprofit bloggers. Continue to provide program updates, tell success stories, comment on breaking news and promote calls to action. But, remember that the most shared and retweeted blog posts will be those that are out of the ordinary.
1. Write Numbered Lists
Formatting your nonprofit’s cause(s) and programs into numbered lists is guaranteed to grab the attention of your donors and supporters. Since most readers now scan online content rather than read it thoroughly, listing and bolding content in a numbered format piques curiosity and ensures easy reading.
2. Photo Essays
Photo essays have emerged as a powerful means for telling a story. Your photo essay should include the following: at least five images of the same size, including a border, that fill the entire width of the page; large bolded captions; a preface of one or two descriptive paragraphs; and a closing with a clear call to action.
3. Summarize Research Reports and Studies
Summarizing the key findings of recently released research reports or studies by nonprofits or think tanks is good strategy. Promote the summary and gain access to new readers by using the report hashtag on social networks. When summarizing a report, be sure to bullet-point at least five of the most important stats mentioned in the report. Then when distributing your summary, tweet or post one of the stats with a link to your summary. By including at least five stats in your summary, you can then distribute your summary up to five times over a one or two week period.
After breaking news and current affairs, articles related to daily life are the most popular on mobile and social media. A simple Internet search will reveal countless articles related to health, lifestyle, family and popular culture. Experiment with publishing blog posts that share resources and useful advice related to your own organization’s mission. As examples, an environmental organization could write about which commonly bought food packaging items can be recycled. Or, an arts organization could create a list of the top 10 museums to visit in a lifetime.
5. Show Donation Impact
Regularly share how donations are being used and the impact they have had. For program milestones, illuminate how the funds raised helped you achieve the goal. Mention the amount raised, how many donors gave and list all the products bought and delivered. Thank donors and encourage others to give. Donors are much more likely to continue giving if there is concrete evidence that their donations are making an impact.
6. Tell the Story of a Community Served
Evoking empathy is essential when telling the story of the communities or individuals served by your nonprofit. The challenge is to communicate need though text, images and video with dignity and respect, hope and possibility. Make it clear that these communities and individuals are real people who are acutely affected by circumstances that are often beyond their control. Illuminate how beneficiaries needs and wants can be or are being met. Focusing on the positive that exists in even the most unfortunate of situations is much more likely to encourage giving.
7. Interview Donors and Volunteers
Create a community of long-term givers and volunteers who are more than just a collection of faceless database entries, through interviews and photos. People find it interesting to read the stories and see the faces of other donors and volunteers. They may even be inspired to give financial support or their time to support your cause. For both donor and volunteer interviews, ask unique questions beyond the obvious to add more personality and character to the posts.
8. Go Behind the Scenes
Many donors and supporters want to see what happens behind the scenes at your nonprofit. Take photos of important meetings and solicit quotes from staff about key takeaways. Record a video of your office or facilities. Interview staff and volunteers as they prepare for an event. Though donors are primarily concerned with the cause(s) you advocate, demonstrating how hard your staff and volunteers work behind the scenes can further cement their commitment to your nonprofit.
9. Write Book and Movie Reviews
Writing reviews about popular books and movies whose plots and characters are related to the cause(s) your nonprofit advocates is an easy way to tap into pop culture. Make sure to include suggestions on how individuals can take action, which can foster social good. Before distributing your reviews, search for popular hashtags representative of the book or movie.
10. Feature New Mobile and Social Media Content
When your nonprofit launches a new infographic, video or e-book, write a post that features the content. By embedding the video into your website or blog and providing some background information on why and how the video was made, you’ll likely get more video views and website traffic. The same is true for infographics, which should be featured on your website in proximity to a donate button, e-newsletter and mobile alert opt-in form and social network icons to help convert readers into donors. Finally, if your nonprofit launches a presence on a new social network, then write about your goals and ask your donors and supporters to help grow your new community.